The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it has obtained an order to retrieve all the documents it tendered as exhibits in the N4.6 billion money laundering trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode.
The EFCC said it obtained an order from the judge of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Daniel Osiagor to enable it to re-file the charges before the Abuja division of the court.
The decision to take the case from Lagos to Abuja followed the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which held that the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, rather than Lagos, has the jurisdiction to hear the case.
Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman; a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Yusuf Danjuma; and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd were charged with fraud and money laundering by the EFCC.
In the 17 counts charge filed against them, they were accused of laundering N4.6 billion in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
In the middle of the trial before the judge of FHC in Lagos, Rilwan Aikawa, the defendants challenged the jurisdiction of the court on the grounds that the facts of the case happened in Abuja rather than Lagos.
Aikawa dismissed their objection, after which they went on appeal.
The appellate court later upheld the defendants’ appeal, holding that the Lagos court lacked jurisdiction over the case.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that, in view of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, all exhibits and documents tendered by the prosecution should be released to enable the commission to commence the matter afresh at the Federal High Court Abuja.
And the Judge, Osiagor granted the application.
In the charges, the EFCC alleged that Fani-Kayode and others unlawfully retained over N4.6 billion, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.
(firstname.lastname@example.org; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)